SD2 board to talk planning and accreditation

2012-04-15T16:45:00Z 2012-04-16T07:25:13Z SD2 board to talk planning and accreditationBy ROB ROGERS rrogers@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

The Billings School District 2 board will make another attempt at discussing a growth planning grant at its meeting Monday night.

The grant — known as the Small Growth Technical Assistance Program — was awarded to the city and SD2 by the Environmental Protection Agency last month.

The grant is an award of services rather than money. With it, the EPA comes to Billings, works with the community and creates a model plan that could be applied to the various planning needs of the city and school district.

It’s become a flashpoint for trustees because of the process through which the city and SD2 went after the grant. Trutsee Kathy Aragon worked with city planner Candi Beaudry to qualify for the award.

Trustee Pam Ellis was troubled by the move, saying that Aragon didn’t do enough to keep the board informed of her efforts.

Trustees broached the topic at their last meeting two weeks ago and discussed again at length on Thursday with the city council.

Also at the meeting Monday night, trustees will hear a presentation on accreditation issues the district has with the state Office of Public Instruction.

Classroom sizes — especially in the district’s lower grades — are well over standards set by the Office of Public Instruction. Without action, it could threaten the district’s state accreditation.

Trustees will also hear a final presentation from the planning and design firm of Fielding Nair. The Florida-based company specializes in designing creative learning communities based on 21st century technology and ideas.

Representatives from the firm met with trustees and community members last fall and delivered as initial report on it findings in November.

Monday’s presentation to the board will be Fielding Nair’s final report.

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